Saturday, April 02, 2005

Surviving the jump

...from Golden Gate Bridge. Kevin Hines, 19, describes his suicide attempt.
Only a tiny minority—not more than 2 percent—survive the jump. Contrary to what many jumpers imagine, it is not a graceful, trauma-free way to go: the impact with the water is violent, shattering bones and dismembering limbs.

"I was falling head first. It was so fast the air pressure on my body made it impossible to breathe," he recounted for Psychiatric News. "By the grace of God, somehow I turned and went in feet first. When I hit the water, I went down probably 50 feet before I started to come back up again, all this time without breathing. I thought I was going to pass out. When I came to the surface, I thought I was dreaming, and I said to myself, `Oh, my God, I'm alive.'"

Something—it turned out to be a seal, he said—bore him up in the water during the few minutes that passed before the Coast Guard picked him up. He suffered shattered vertebrae, requiring him to wear a back brace for the rest of his life, but Hines survived to tell his story to youth and other groups, and to the media (including CNN and the New Yorker magazine, among others).
("Saved by a seal..." ??! The article doesn't challenge this statement. We need more benevolent seals under that bridge!)

More on suicide here.
Click for Eugene, Oregon Forecast